Miller Center for the Arts presents: Phil Wiggins Blues House Party
Phil Wiggins Blues House Party with Junious Brickhouse and The Harris Brothers will open Reading Area Community College’s Miller Center for the Art’s second half of its season Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m.
Throughout the Piedmont and Appalachians there have existed for centuries shared musical traditions that were equally popular among rural blacks and whites. This program explores the roots and connections of these regional rural music and dance traditions. The program will feature harmonica wizard and 2017 National Heritage Fellow Phil Wiggins and his blues house party ensemble featuring the dancing of Junious Brickhouse, and North Carolina songsters extraordinaire, the Harris Brothers.
Phil Wiggins is one of the nation’s foremost players of acoustic blues harmonica. A native of Washington, D.C., his playing is rooted in the melodic Piedmont blues. Attracted to blues harmonica as a young man, he began his performing career with some Washington, D.C.’s leading blues artists, including guitarist Archie Edwards and John Jackson, and slide guitarist and gospel singer Flora Molton. In 2017, Phil received an NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
The man who brings the dance back to the house party is the incomparable Junious Brickhouse. He is the founder and executive director of Urban Artistry in D.C.’s Ward 7, an organization “dedicated to the performance and preservation of art forms inspired by the urban experience.” Resurrecting the dances of the country blues house party has involved personal memory, research, and intuition. Joining Phil and Junious are guitarist Rick Franklin and fiddler Marcus Moore.
The Harris Brothers are part of the American songster tradition, drawing from diverse currents of vernacular music, including Appalachian bluegrass and old-time and the distinctive blues styles of the upland South, as well as country, jazz, and rock. With Reggie on guitar, Ryan on bass, seamless brother harmonies, and kick drum fashioned from a suitcase. Today, The Harris Brothers are regularly featured at venues such as the Blue Ridge Music Center, Merlefest, regional fiddler conventions, and, increasingly, at national festivals. Known for their showmanship and their spontaneity, they never make a set list, so no Harris Brothers performances are ever the same.
This engagement of Country Blues & Dance is made possible through the Folk and Traditional Arts Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in collaboration with the national Council for the Traditional Arts with support from the national Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets for Country Blues & Dance are $32 for adults and $15 for students and may be purchased by calling the Miller Center box office at 610-607-6270 or visiting millercenter.racc.edu.